Monday, July 12, 2004

Main Issues at AIDS Conference Already Crowded Out of Headlines
As the AIDS Convention in Bangkok heats up with the controversy over protected sex versus no-sex, the real issues threaten to get muddled. The number one issue remains whether access to prevention and treatment resources will be spread to all or whether a two-tier (rich-poor) system will continue to divide the life chances of people (ie. the theme "Access for All." The US should stop playing petty politics and ensure that Bish's $15B AIDS committment does not get wasted. It should be added to the UN's Aids fund rather than have its own agenda. Another issue is whether religious and traditional beleifs will continue to get in the way of education and prevention strategies (education, needle-sharing, pregnancy testing, condoms, etc). The Bush Adminstration believs that outmoded beliefs hold sway, even on the most threatening of global issues. Yet, we are lead to believe that South Africa, which attempts to give its generic drugs to all, is the source of problemativ thinking on AIDS.

Cuba, a Rare AIDS Success Story, is Ignored
Thailand was chosen as the locale for the UN's AIDS Conference, and Uganda was given a hefty role - for their supposed succcess in combatting the AIDS epidemic. Meanwhile, not one article or official item has appeared in the press regading the most obvious of AIDS sucess - that of Cuba. Cuba's AIDS rate is less than .03 per 1000 - the lowest in the Americas - and in stark contrast to the rates 100 hundred times higher in neighboring Haiti, Trinidad or even Barbados. The reason for the success in Cuba is simple - very early recognition of the AIDS threat, a completely open and free public health care system and a humanitarian ideology, that puts the good of all and the well-being of the individual in proper perspective. Cuba dispenses vaccines for all, tests all pregant women and engages in a comprehensive program of education and public awareness (condoms a big part). For me, the success of Cuba shows hte idiocy of the condoms vs. abstinence debate. One would be hard=ressed to find a more sex-crazed population, yet the results speak for themselves.


Blogger Sloth said...

This is very interesting! Thank you! Now when people point at Uganda as proof that abstinence education is best, I can say, "Nuh uh. Look at Cuba."

From McSweeney's Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush:
DAY 37:

In January, 2003, the Bush administration chose Jerry Thacker to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

Thacker has described AIDS as the "gay plague," homosexuality as a "deathstyle" rather than lifestyle, and explained that, "Christ can rescue the homosexual."

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS provides "recommendations on the US government's response to the AIDS epidemic." Thacker is also an alumni, and former member of the faculty at Bob Jones University, a school known for its ban on interracial dating. In September 2001, Thacker gave a speech at Bob Jones University, during which he spoke of the "sin of homosexuality."

Due to the controversy over his appointment, Thacker withdrew from the Commission shortly after his nomination.

(Source: Ceci Cnnolly, "AIDS Panel Choice Wrote of a 'Gay Plague,'" Washington Post, January 23, 2003.)

But, even more importantly -

DAY 69:

On June 16, 2004, the Bush administration's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new mandatory guidelines for HIV prevention organizations.

Under the new regulations, state and local health departments will appoint a panel to censor the content of HIV educational materials. Any "obscene" or "sexually suggestive" content will not be permitted. Drawings or photographs that demonstrate condom use on dildos or even cucumbers are listed as "obscene."

In addition, HIV educational material must include a warning about the "lack of effectiveness" of condoms. If an HIV prevention center disobeys the new rules, they lose all their federal funding.

The CDC is the government's single source of funding for HIV prevention programs. Julie Gerberding, the CDC's current head, was appointed by President Bush.

(Source: Doug Ireland, "Condom Wars: New guidelines gut HIV prevention — and endanger young people's lives," LA Weekly, July 2004. See article at: Federal Register: June 16, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 115). See article at:

9:02 AM  

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